The History of  the Granville Mission Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Prior to 1901, when Father Raith pioneered the Minot, North Dakota area, there is little that has been recorded about the role of Catholics in Granville.

The J.H. Leavy family, and the Thomas McMahon family, who moved to Granville, North Dakota from Britt, Iowa in December of 1901, and the Mike Mahoney family, were the only Catholic families in the area.

Services were held in the Mahoney home during the spring of 1902. Father Raith served until 1912, coming only on a week day, and not very regularly. The Mahoneys didn't stay long in Granville so, after they left, Mass was held in a  hall over a building on Main Street.

In 1902, several Catholic families moved in. P.J. Hines and James Nolans operated a general store in Granville, and J.O. Reilly clerked in the store. James Mackin was a cashier in the Granville bank, and Frank Wallace was a farmer. Dr. Barette came from Quebec, and served as a family physician. Other early Catholic settlers included the Gene McGurk family, the Regan family, the John Cox family, and the George Brown family.

As more Catholics moved into the area, Mass was held in a room in the old school house, the hall that had previously been used, and then, more regularly in the home of J.H. Leavy.

Contributions were take up, which some of the businesses took part in, and $500 was raised to build a church. The men dug rocks, hauling them to be used in the foundation. However, by the time construction began, most of the rocks had been taken for use in private homes and elsewhere, with only the largest remaining.

The $500 was used, instead, in the building of the Minot church and, after 1912, Granville became a station to the Towner parish.

Between 1906 and 1921, more Catholic families moved in; they included the families of Jim Bailey, Ed Barry, John Check, Jules Fraines, Richard Thompson, Ed Pruett, Sylvester Murphy, James Gleason, Lydons Peterson, J. Davis and John Clark, as well as the Marhams and Harrises.

The priests that came from the Towner parish to hold services in the Leavy home included Father Eckert, Father LaFrance, Father Beirens, Father Hart, Father Simon, and Father Cloos.

It wasn't until 1934 that the first Catholic Church in Granville was built, with people donating their labor in order to complete the project. The former St. Stephans Church of Tiffany, a small town northeast of New Rockford, was dismantled in four sections, and moved to Granville. J.H. Leavy and his son, Robert, along with Ray and Lawrence McMahon, camped out with Father O'Neill to tear down the building, and Sidney Cool hauled it to Granville. Financed largely by a very active Ladies Aid Society, and volunteer help, the church was rebuilt, with Sig Haaland serving as the carpenter for the project.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

The first Mass was held on Christmas Day in 1934. In 1936, the community again came together to build a full-sized basement. A well was also dug, and a water pump was installed. The church was dedicated on July 1, 1940 by the Most Rev. Bishop Muench of Fargo, as the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

The first church trustees were Mike McMahon and W.M. Murphy. The organist was Mrs. W.M. Murphy. The first baby baptised in the church was Kathryn Meyers, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Tony Myers. The first funeral held at the church was that of Mr. Melvin Peterson, who was also the first convert. The second funeral was for Mrs. W.M. Murphy. The first Holy Communion class was comprised of Verne, Billy and Paul Murphy, Rose Marg Meyers, Monica McLaughlin, Walter Davis and Mrs. Murphy, which was held on July 21, 1935. The first altar boy was Verne V. Murphy. The first mission was held September 17-20th, 1936, and was conducted by Father Pothe, Redemptionist Priest. Seventy-eight people received communion on the last morning. The first wedding held in the church was for Blanche Louise Martell and Thomas William Sheridan. The first meeting of the Ladies Aid Society to be held in the church basement was on July 29, 1937.

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